Children after PND – “Don’t let your past, shape your future.”

Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Being a Mumma, Pregnancy, The UNspoken | 6 comments

Children after PND – “Don’t let your past, shape your future.”

I recently received an email asking me how I built up the courage to have another baby after experiencing Post Natal Depression, 5 years ago with my first born Olivia? Was I frightened PND would return? Did I have any freak outs along the way? Did I experience it with my two youngest children?

This email and these questions inspired this post. If one person is taking the time to write me an email, I am positive there are others out there having the same dilemma and may not have anymore children out of pure fear that PND will raise it ugly head again.

When I fell pregnant with Jack, my second baby (Jack is now 2 and a half), only 6 months earlier I had experienced an ectopic pregnancy. The moment the pregnancy test came back positive for Jack, I was instantly anxious and afraid it could be another ectopic, that was a very emotional and scary time, which I did not want to go through again but I didn’t let it stop me having more children. (You can read about my Ectopic Pregnancy here). When we received the great news that the pregnancy was where it should be and was progressing as to be expect we were over the moon.

There were definitely bumps along the way with my second and third babies as there are with most pregnancies but I thought the best way to explain how I avoided PND again is to answer the above questions.

Was I frightened PND would return?

Absolutely!!!! Having undiagnosed pre and postnatal depression for 18 months was a horrible time to go through and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Did I have any freak outs along the way?

Again absolutely!! Pregnancy is such an unpredictable life event. I had complications with both Macy and Jack, which in turn set off my anxiety and made me question my mental health. I started dilating at 25 weeks with Macy so the thought of my body letting my baby down and putting her at risk with an early delivery was another testing time.

Did I experience PND with my youngest two children?

Id’ love to say absolutely NOT to this one but reality is when you have experienced a mental illness of any kind it can return. Hormones, life changes, life experiences and stress can all trigger mental illness to return. When I was 6 months pregnant with Jack (my second baby) I had a complete meltdown, I went into my OB’s office and cried uncontrollably, I was petrified that what is meant to be the happiest time in my life was about to be taken away from me again! The first 18 months of Olivia’s life was a blur, due to my PND. I was too busy trying to put on a show that everything was ok and most importantly that I was coping. While busy doing that I wasn’t taking care of myself, I wasn’t listening to my body which I am normally so good at. Not knowing at the time, that the way I felt was not, due to me being ungrateful, it was not because I couldn’t do it, It was not because I didn’t love my baby and most importantly it was not my fault.

This is the difference, once you’ve experienced PND, you know it’s not your fault, you know that you are sensitive to hormone changes and a little sleep deprivation will knock you around. Remember that once you’ve been through it, you know what to do to get better. If you feel like your not quite right, you’ve already been down this path and your starting point will be halfway to recovery, because remember you’ve beaten it before and you will beat it again, that’s how I look at it. If you listen to yourself and look after yourself you will never start from the beginning again. The beginning is the questions you continuously ask yourself but don’t want to here the answers to. Like, why do I feel this way? Why aren’t I over the moon with joy? Why do I feel so disconnected? Why can’t I sleep? Or why do I sleep too much? If any of these questions and feeling start entering your mind, take charge and talk to the necessary people, to get back on track.

When my freak out happened during Jack’s pregnancy I took charge, I told my husband I was starting to feel a little anxious about potentially going through another traumatic birth and that PND might be creeping in again. I went to my GP and we got back on the plan and treatment I used when I was diagnosed with Olivia. It was a simple as that, I had the tools, information, awareness and support around me. This is how I avoided PND taking over my life again, this is how I got to enjoy a beautiful birthing and postnatal experience second and third time around. Mental health has been explained to me as being like a bucket, bit by bit your bucket fills up, on testing days like teething, tantrums and lack of sleep, let me give you the news, my bucket fills at a rapid rate then all of a sudden the slightest thing can cause it to overflow. These are the days where I think I can’t do it, I feel like I am in over my head, drowning I guess you could say and that I am not strong enough mentally or physically to handle 3 children under 6 but then I check in. I check in with my family, my doctor or my psychologist and most importantly I check in with myself and empty the bucket. There are many strategies you can use to keep your mental health in check and different things work for different people. You need to find what works best for you and your situation.

I would love to tell you PND won’t ever come back and to tell first time mums to be, that they can avoid getting PND but I can’t and I would be lying. You can’t control your hormones, your birth experience or how your body will react to the massive changes pre and postnatally but what you CAN control is the amount of information and support you gather, incase you find yourself not feeling well. The sooner you get onto it, the faster your road to recovery and most importantly enjoyment will be.

If you are content with the number of children you have then congratulations girlfriend, you did good, your a super mumma, no matter how many children you have. If you are wanting more but scared due to previous experiences, talk to someone, a family member, a doctor, a psychologist, whoever you feel comfortable with, there is so much information and support out there to help you with your decision. .

I’d like to think that everyone reading this will take out the following message. We all have mental health and at different times it needs more love and attention than others, take care of you and take charge or your enjoyment of life.

Most importantly “Don’t let your past shape your future”

KB xx

If you are struggling or know someone who is go to www.beyondblue.org.au for help and information.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Great article Kylie. This is such a common experience that is often swept under the carpet for so many reasons – fear, denial, embarrassment. It is always comforting to know you are not alone in the journey!

  2. Hey Kylie, thanks for the inspiring blog! I am a first time single mum who has just been diagnosed with PND. It’s definitely the hardest thing I have ever dealt with and it is wonderful to know that it will eventually get better. Thank you so much for being an inspiration.

  3. Hi Kylie
    Congratulations on your honesty.. It will make such a difference to so many women..
    I too write a blog in attempt to increase conversations about depression..
    Would it be possible for you to read the 9 posts and let me know what you think? Once you are aware of the content of the blog I would also like to know if you would mind me referencing your blog on mine?
    My blog can be found at http://www.writestrong.blogspot.com.au
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Also just FYI I don’t make any money from this and I also volunteer as a Speaker for beyond blue..
    With kindest regards
    Karen Synnott

  4. Hello I’m 26 mother of 2 little boys age 32 months and 18 months . And I got pnd after my 18 month old I really didn’t know I had it no one had told me I had changed I just thought I was so tired doing everything my self with 2 small children . Which coursed strain on my realtionship and I hit rock bottom . To the point I tried to end my life on mothers day as I felt so bad and like I don’t deserve my children or my realtionship . Now I’m so so scared to have a third child . I want to get my tubes tied and never have to go through that ever again I can’t even rember a 13 month of my baby’s life I don’t even no were it’s gone . My bf is so against this but I really don’t want any more children what if I end my life for good next time he don’t understand this at all . I just don’t no what to do I feel. Like I’m going through all this again please help me

  5. Thank you for this enlightening blog post. I experienced crippling anxiety-led PND after the birth of my daughter who is now 2.5 years. I wouldn’t say that I am completely recovered, but I’m a world away from those horrendous first few months when my world tipped upside down. Only now do I feel ready to contemplate another baby, but the thought of getting sick again is very frightening. It’s encouraging to know there’s other women out there who have been down a similar path and come out on top. xx

  6. Beautiful Kylie! After reading this post many months ago, I felt the urge tonight to find it again.. I love your honesty, appreciate your positivity and am inspired by your strength.. When I first read your birth story I went on a roller coaster of emotions, reading this post I felt relief, but after recently finding out we are pregnant again far earlier than I am personally ready for I lost myself all over again.. I’m inspired by your reminder, that the tools are already there, the support is already around me and the conversation is open.. I’m terrified, I feel guilt and pain and all these crazy things that belong to PND and not to me.. And I just appreciate more than anything that your willingness to share your experience. Thank you for being bold, brave and beautifully honest!! I love that these words are written for me to find on those days I need a little reminder xx

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